ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems
ISO 14001 is the
internationally recognised standard for the environmental management of
businesses. It prescribes controls for those activities that have an effect on
the environment. These include the use of natural resources, handling and
treatment of waste and energy consumption.
Environmental Management System is a systematic way to discover and control the
effects your company has on the environment. Cost savings can be made through
improved efficiency and productivity. These are achieved by detecting ways to
minimise waste and dispose of it more effectively and by learning how to use
energy more efficiently. It verifies compliance with current legislation and
makes insurance cover more accessible.
Firstly, you need to evaluate the effect your organisation
has on the environment. You then need to prioritise ways in which you might
reduce them. Next, identify the boundaries of your management system and
document your procedures for implementing the requirements of ISO 14001. You
will need to ensure these procedures are implemented and then audited. If you
have ISO 9000 systems in place, many of the requirements of ISO 14001 will
already be covered, or can be easily incorporated into them.
Once developed, internal audits are needed to ensure the
system carries on working. The setting of targets for the environmental policy
and continual measuring against it ensures the system is maintained.
Once you have an environmental management system in place,
you may choose to have it externally audited. Following a successful audit by an
accredited certification body, you will be issued with a certificate of
registration to ISO 14001. This demonstrates that your organisation is committed
to environmental issues and is prepared to work towards improving the
environment. It also gives a competitive edge to the company's marketing and
enhances its image in the eyes of customers, employees and shareholders.
Joint ISO 14001 and ISO
There are several common elements between the two
standards, such as management review, document control, corrective action and
the requirement for trained personnel. These can be combined into a single,
joint system (together with Health & Safety if desired). Assessment of joint
systems is available and may be the most suitable and cost effective approach
for some companies.